October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Pastor Jackie L. Jackson

I have so many reasons to be in this fight against gun violence.

In 1970, I was 10 and playing outside when my friend Dale and I were shot by an adult neighbor who had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital.

My oldest son, Jackie L. Jackson II, was shot in the back with a shotgun in front his home in a robbery attempt, as he was returning from a recording session at 3:00 a.m. He survived.

In six years, my family members — Antwan Ward, Anthony Hinton Sr., Anthony Hinton Jr., Jermaine Johnson, Brandon Phoenix, Desmond Watson and Elijah Wheeler, Jr. — were murdered. And my family members — Ce’Asia Mathis, who was 11; Jaquez Jackson; Samuel Jackson; Martaisha Thomas, who was 4; and James Jackson — were all shot, but survived.

Volunteering with survivors has allowed me to see amazingly strong people navigate this journey that none of us want to take and come out on the other side fighters, determined to keep the memories of their loved ones alive. We survivors are bound by circumstances no one should have to endure. For many of us, what gets us through is to know we are not alone.

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